Clarke, David V (Research Associate), Sheridan, J A, Shepherd, Alexandra N, Sharples, N M, Armour-Chelu, Miranda Jane, Hamlet, Laura, Bronk-Ramsay, Christopher, Dunbar, Elaine, Reimer, Paula, Marshall, P and Whittle, Alasdair (2016) The end of the world, or just ‘goodbye to all that’? Contextualising the red deer heap from Links of Noltland, Westray, within late 3rd-millennium cal bc Orkney. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 146. pp. 57-89. ISSN 0081-1564

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Abstract

As part of a major international research project, The Times of Their Lives, a programme of radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling was undertaken to refine the chronology of activities in one small but important part of the extensive Late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement in Links of Notland on the island of Westray, Orkney. The selected area (Trench D) is well known for having produced, next to a wall, the remains of a heap of at least 15 red deer carcasses, on top of which had been placed a large cod, a gannet's wing along with part of agreater black-backed gull and a pair of antlers. This remarkable deposit had been preceded by, and was followed by, periods of cultivation and the deposition of domestic refuse. Refined date estimates have been produced, based on 18 radiocarbon determinations obtained from 16 samples from Trench D (including nine new obtained dates, three form individual deer heap). These clarify when, during this long sequence of activities, the deer were heaped up probably in the 22nd century cal bc, around the same time as Beaker pottery was deposited elsewhere on the Links. This allows comparison between the dated activities in this part of the site with activity elsewhere on the Links and also with other episode of deer deposition in 3rd-millenium cal bc Orkney. It encourages exploration of the possible reasons for what appears to be a remarkable act of structured deposition. The significance of an earlier much larger scale deposit featuring cattle remains at Ness of Brodgar is discussed in exploring the nature of Orcadian society and practices during the second half of the 3rd millennium cal bc.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Q Science > QL Zoology
Theme: Material culture: creation and use
Department: Scottish History and Archaeology (from 2012)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ross Anderson
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 13:05
Last Modified: 10 May 2018 15:58
URI: http://repository.nms.ac.uk/id/eprint/1958

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